Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in (Quick) Review

When we started the year on Long Island at our friends' house, we had not an inkling that we would end the year in Whiting, NJ. Sometimes it still seems dreamlike to walk out the kitchen door and into the Whiting WMA some 65 feet away and go birding. Yesterday, before Sue left, we took a little walk and 15 Snow Geese flew overhead--species #58 for the WMA and #124 for Ocean County.

Photo: Shari Zirlin
First bird of the year was with Rick & Caroline: A Northern Flicker stopping by their feeder. We got RED CROSSBILLS for our first life bird of the year at Seven Presidents Park in Long Branch, NJ and then things kind of went to hell for the next few months as we spent time in Iselin dealing with a family crisis.

Photo: Shari Zirlin
In February, we managed to get a way for a weekend to visit Sue & Roy in the Berkshires. We braved the frigid north because they get COMMON REDPOLLS at their feeder and we had never seen that finch either.  There were a slew of them that weekend; ironically, they were also reported all over NYC that weekend, including the feeders at Prospect Park.

Photo: Shari Zirlin
The majority of our 32 life birds for the year were acquired in California. Highlights there were BLACK OYSTERCATCHER at Bodega Head, CLARK'S GREBE at Bodega Bay, and RED-MASKED PARAKEET in San Francisco. In all, we managed 125 species on our California trip, making May by far the most "productive" month of the year.

Photo: Shari Zirlin
June 18th was quite a day: we first looked at this house, then drove to Negri-Nepote Grasslands and four our lifer DICKCISSEL. In June, we also got the first of our "hooded" life-birds: HOODED CROW on Staten Island. After hanging around Staten Island for a few weeks, that same bird (presumably) ended up on Long Beach Island. Had we been living here then, we probably would have gone over to LBI and racked it up for the Ocean County list too.

Photo: Shari Zirlin
In July, on Coney Island Beach, birders were taking the subway to see the GRAY-HOODED GULL (we drove). It was very strange to see this bird, only the 2nd North American record, walking among the the flocks of common gulls and beach goers. I think it developed a taste for Nathan's french fries.

In August, when we closed on the house, it was thrilling to hear an EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL, watch Common Nighthawks in the evening sky, and find both cuckoos and a Great Horned Owl in the WMA.

Early in September, we drove down to Cape May and took a bird tour boat (about as close to a pelagic as I'm going to come) to see the BROWN BOOBY that hung around Jarvis Sound until the first cold snap in October.  It was the first of many examples of the great advantage for birding opportunities that living down here affords us.

The last lifer of the year was way back in September, a YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, but for me, that was a BVD (better view desired).

The total species for the year was 274, 5 less than last year. The move down here eliminated one big birding trip we would normally take in the summer--this year it was going to be the Delmarva Peninsula. We may do that one this spring.

The full year list follows. Life birds BOLD, ALL CAPS.
Counties birded
California: Marin, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Sonoma
Massachusetts: Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire
New Jersey: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset
New York: Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk

Species                                             First Sighting
Greater White-fronted Goose         Duke Island Park
Snow Goose         Brigantine
Brant         Jones Beach SP
Canada Goose         Jones Beach SP
Mute Swan         Prospect Park
Tundra Swan         Brigantine
Wood Duck         Prospect Park
Gadwall        Pier One
Eurasian Wigeon         Lighthouse Pond
American Wigeon         Shark River
American Black Duck        Pier One
Mallard         Jones Beach SP
Blue-winged Teal         Brigantine
Cinnamon Teal         Shollenberger Pk & Ellis Crk
Northern Shoveler         Prospect Park
Northern Pintail         Brigantine
Green-winged Teal         Mount Loretto Unique Area
Ring-necked Duck         Batsto Village
Greater Scaup         Cold Spring Harbor
Lesser Scaup         Cold Spring Harbor
King Eider         Avalon--8th St. Jetty
Common Eider         Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Harlequin Duck         Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Surf Scoter         Bodega Head
White-winged Scoter         Sandy Hook
Black Scoter         Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Long-tailed Duck         Jones Beach SP
Bufflehead        Pier Four
Hooded Merganser         Prospect Park
Common Merganser         Brigantine
Red-breasted Merganser         Cold Spring Harbor
Ruddy Duck         Seven Presidents Park
CALIFORNIA QUAIL         Limantour Rd & Beach
Wild Turkey         South Beach Psychiatric Center
Red-throated Loon         Seven Presidents Park
PACIFIC LOON        Bodega Bay
Common Loon         Jones Beach SP
Pied-billed Grebe         Batsto Village
Horned Grebe         Sandy Hook
Western Grebe        Bodega Bay
CLARK'S GREB    Bodega Bay
BROWN BOOBY        Jarvis Sound
Northern Gannet         Mount Loretto Unique Area
BRANDT'S CORMORANT        Bodega Head
Double-crested Cormorant        Pier One
Great Cormorant         Mount Loretto Unique Area
PELAGIC CORMORANT        Bodega Head
American White Pelican         Oyster Farm
Brown Pelican         Bodega Head
Great Blue Heron         Brigantine
Great Egret         Brigantine
Snowy Egret         Brigantine
Little Blue Heron         Marine Park--Southwest
Tricolored Heron         JBWR--West Pond
Green Heron         Prospect Park
Black-crowned Night-Heron         Mount Loretto Unique Area
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron         JBWR--West Pond
White Ibis         Brigantine
Glossy Ibis         JBWR--West Pond
Black Vulture         Bayshore Rd
Turkey Vulture         Shark River
Osprey         Brigantine
Bald Eagle         County Rd 542
Northern Harrier         Jones Beach SP
Sharp-shinned Hawk         Marine Park--Southwest
Cooper's Hawk         Jones Beach SP
Red-shouldered Hawk         Point Reyes seashore lodge
Red-tailed Hawk         Prospect Park
American Kestrel         Prospect Park
Merlin         Jones Beach SP
Peregrine Falcon         Jones Beach SP
Clapper Rail         Brigantine
Virginia Rail         Bear Valley Rd
American Coot         Prospect Park
Black-bellied Plover         JBWR--West Pond
Semipalmated Plover         JBWR--West Pond
Killdeer         Cold Spring Harbor
American Oystercatcher         Marine Park--Southwest
Black-necked Stilt         Shollenberger Pk & Ellis Crk
American Avocet         Shollenberger Pk & Ellis Crk
Spotted Sandpiper         Prospect Park
Solitary Sandpiper         Mount Loretto Unique Area
Greater Yellowlegs         Marine Park--Southwest
Willet         JBWR--West Pond
Lesser Yellowlegs        Bodega Bay
Whimbrel         Limantour Rd & Beach
Hudsonian Godwit         Brigantine
Ruddy Turnstone         JBWR--West Pond
Sanderling         Seven Presidents Park
Semipalmated Sandpiper         JBWR--West Pond
Western Sandpiper         Pt. Reyes--Abbotts Lagoon
Least Sandpiper         Mount Loretto Unique Area
White-rumped Sandpiper         Brigantine
Purple Sandpiper         Barnegat Lighthouse SP
Dunlin         Pt. Reyes--Abbotts Lagoon
Short-billed Dowitcher         Brigantine
Long-billed Dowitcher         Shollenberger Pk & Ellis Crk
Wilson's Phalarope         JBWR--West Pond
BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE       Seven Presidents Park
Bonaparte's Gull         Barnegat Lighthouse SP
GRAY-HOODED GULL         Coney Island Beach
Laughing Gull         Brooklyn Bridge Park--Pier Four
Ring-billed Gull         Jones Beach SP
WESTERN GULL       Tomales Bay
CALIFORNIA GULL      Bodega Head
Herring Gull         Jones Beach SP
Great Black-backed Gull         Jones Beach SP
Least Tern         Marine Park--Southwest
Gull-billed Tern         Brigantine
Caspian Tern        Bodega Bay
Common Tern         Marine Park--Southwest
Forster's Tern         JBWR--West Pond
Black Skimmer         Brigantine
Common Murre         Sea Lion Overlook-
Rock Pigeon         Jones Beach SP
Band-tailed Pigeon         Point Reyes seashore lodge
Eurasian Collared-Dove         Point Reyes seashore lodge
Mourning Dove         Prospect Park
Monk Parakeet         9th St
RED-MASKED PARAKEET        Corona Heights Park
Yellow-billed Cuckoo         Prospect Park
Barn Owl         JBWR--East Pond
Great Horned Owl         Heritage Oak
Barred Owl         Brigantine
Common Nighthawk         35 Sunset Rd
Chimney Swift         Prospect Park
VAUX'S SWIFT       Point Reyes seashore lodge
Ruby-throated Hummingbird         Brigantine
Black-chinned Hummingbird         Heritage Oak
Anna's Hummingbird         Earthquake trail
Rufous Hummingbird         Heritage Oak
Belted Kingfisher         Cold Spring Harbor
Red-headed Woodpecker         Central Park
Acorn Woodpecker         Earthquake trail
Red-bellied Woodpecker         Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker         Central Park
Downy Woodpecker         Prospect Park--Feeders
Hairy Woodpecker         Prospect Park--Feeders
Northern Flicker         R&C Home
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER         Bolinas Lagoon
Western Wood-Pewee         Heritage Oak
Eastern Wood-Pewee         Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Willow Flycatcher         JBWR--West Pond
Pacific-slope Flycatcher         Earthquake trail
BLACK PHOEBE        Point Reyes seashore lodge
Eastern Phoebe         Iselin
Ash-throated Flycatcher         Heritage Oak
Western Kingbird         Heritage Oak
Eastern Kingbird         Brooklyn Botanic Garden
White-eyed Vireo         Prospect Park
Blue-headed Vireo         JBWR--West Pond
Warbling Vireo         Prospect Park
Red-eyed Vireo         Prospect Park
Steller's Jay         Point Reyes seashore lodge
Blue Jay         Clinton Street
WESTERN SCRUB-JAY         Point Reyes seashore lodge
American Crow         Jones Beach SP
Fish Crow         18 Aberdeen Avenue
HOODED CROW       Great Kills Park
Common Raven         Point Reyes seashore lodge
Horned Lark         Jones Beach SP
Northern Rough-winged Swallow         Prospect Park
Purple Martin         Brigantine
Tree Swallow         JBWR--West Pond
Violet-green Swallow         Earthquake trail
Bank Swallow         Limantour Rd & Beach
Barn Swallow         Prospect Park
Cliff Swallow         Point Reyes admin bldg
Carolina Chickadee         Brigantine
Black-capped Chickadee         Clinton Street
CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE         Earthquake trail
OAK TITMOUSE       Olema Pasture
Tufted Titmouse         Prospect Park--Feeders
BUSHTIT        Campbell Cove
Red-breasted Nuthatch         Brooklyn Botanic Garden
White-breasted Nuthatch         Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Brown Creeper         Central Park
Rock Wren         Pt. Reyes--Abbotts Lagoon
Carolina Wren         Prospect Park
Bewick's Wren         Campbell Cove
House Wren        Pier One
Winter Wren         Central Park
Marsh Wren         Shollenberger Pk & Ellis Crk
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher         Prospect Park
Golden-crowned Kinglet         Whiting WMA
Ruby-crowned Kinglet         Prospect Park
WRENTIT       Tomales Bay
Eastern Bluebird         Norwottuck Rail Trail
Western Bluebird         Tomales Bay trail
Veery         Norwottuck Rail Trail
Swainson's Thrush         Earthquake trail
Hermit Thrush         Prospect Park
Wood Thrush         Prospect Park
American Robin         Sandy Hook
Gray Catbird         JBWR--West Pond
Northern Mockingbird         Jones Beach SP
Brown Thrasher         JBWR--West Pond
European Starling         Jones Beach SP
Bohemian Waxwing         Windsor--North Street
Cedar Waxwing         Forked River Rest Stop
Snow Bunting         Brigantine
Ovenbird         35 Sunset Rd
Northern Waterthrush         Prospect Park
Blue-winged Warbler         Prospect Park
Black-and-white Warbler         Prospect Park
Prothonotary Warbler         Prospect Park
Nashville Warbler         Prospect Park
MOURNING WARBLER        Prospect Park
Common Yellowthroat         Prospect Park
Hooded Warbler         Prospect Park
American Redstart         JBWR--West Pond
Cape May Warbler         Brigantine
Northern Parula         Prospect Park
Blackburnian Warbler         Prospect Park
Yellow Warbler         JBWR--West Pond
Chestnut-sided Warbler         Prospect Park
Blackpoll Warbler         Prospect Park
Black-throated Blue Warbler         Prospect Park
Palm Warbler         Prospect Park
Pine Warbler         Prospect Park
Yellow-rumped Warbler         Brigantine
Yellow-throated Warbler         Prospect Park
Prairie Warbler         Prospect Park
Townsend's Warbler         Heritage Oak
Hermit Warbler         Heritage Oak
Black-throated Green Warbler         Prospect Park
Wilson's Warbler         Point Reyes seashore lodge
Spotted Towhee         Earthquake trail
Eastern Towhee         Central Park
CALIFORNIA TOWHEE         Earthquake trail
American Tree Sparrow         Sandy Hook
Chipping Sparrow         Prospect Park
Field Sparrow         Prospect Park
Savannah Sparrow        Pier One
Seaside Sparrow         Brigantine
Fox Sparrow         Prospect Park--Feeders
Song Sparrow         Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Swamp Sparrow         Prospect Park
White-throated Sparrow         Brooklyn Botanic Garden
White-crowned Sparrow        Bodega Bay
Dark-eyed Junco         Prospect Park--Feeders
Scarlet Tanager         Prospect Park
Northern Cardinal         Clinton Street
Black-headed Grosbeak         Point Reyes admin bldg
Indigo Bunting         Mount Loretto Unique Area
DICKCISSEL        Negri-Nepote Grasslands
Bobolink         Mount Loretto Unique Area
Red-winged Blackbird         Prospect Park--Feeders
Eastern Meadowlark         Prospect Park
Rusty Blackbird         Prospect Park
Brewer's Blackbird         Point Reyes seashore lodge
Common Grackle         Prospect Park
Boat-tailed Grackle         Great Kills Park
Great-tailed Grackle         Point Reyes seashore lodge
Brown-headed Cowbird         18 Aberdeen Avenue
Orchard Oriole         Marine Park--Southwest
Hooded Oriole         Heritage Oak
Bullock's Oriole         Heritage Oak
Baltimore Oriole         Prospect Park
House Finch         Jones Beach SP
RED CROSSBILL      Seven Presidents Park
COMMON REDPOLL       Coles Brook Farm
Pine Siskin         Prospect Park--Feeders
Lesser Goldfinch         Heritage Oak
American Goldfinch         Prospect Park
House Sparrow         Brooklyn Botanic Garden